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What can I do with these vanilla beans?

by (1295)
Updated about 21 hours ago
Created February 16, 2012 at 5:36 PM

So I ordered 5 lbs of turmeric, but Amazon sent me 50 Madagascar vanilla beans instead. I've already contacted the distributor, and they are sending me my turmeric, but said I should just keep the vanilla beans.

Anyway, what can I do with them? I know that this is a fairly exotic, luxurious ingredient to have, but as a paleo person, I don't do very much baking.

Oh, and are there any nutritional benefits to vanilla beans?

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4258 · February 17, 2012 at 2:28 AM

(though I guess you could make stronger extract quicker with more beans)

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4258 · February 17, 2012 at 2:27 AM

when my ma made it, it was 4-5 beans per litre of alcohol.

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3499 · February 17, 2012 at 12:00 AM

You can also make vanilla sugar out of spent pods (after you use them for something else), but you will need more of them to get a good vanilla flavor.

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4359 · February 16, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Vanillin is actually a metabolite of curcumin so maybe if you hire an organic chemist you can turn it into turmeric yourself. :)

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2178 · February 16, 2012 at 8:08 PM

holy crap that's a lotta VANILLA!

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1295 · February 16, 2012 at 7:54 PM

I try to add it to every ground meat concoction I create.

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13983 · February 16, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Send some to meeee!!! :D

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3742 · February 16, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Yeah, I'm almost curious to start a new thread about it! What do you with so much?

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5043 · February 16, 2012 at 7:22 PM

how many beans to how much alcohol, though? He's got 50!!

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4347 · February 16, 2012 at 6:12 PM

+1 for rum. Bourbon is also delicious as a base for vanilla extract!

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1614 · February 16, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Another idea- any cooked fruit is great with vanilla bean. Apples, cherries, peaches, strawberries, even citrus.

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1614 · February 16, 2012 at 5:53 PM

HOLY CRAP, that's a lotta turmeric.

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1163 · February 16, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Rum makes some pretty awesome vanilla extract as well.

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8 Answers

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24538 · February 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM

You'll be a hero if you donate any that you don't think you'll use to your local food bank. The older generation that still knows how to cook with them, but can't afford them at the store will think of you fondly always.

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480 · February 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Wow you are lucky. I would not use them all for extract. Make a vanilla mead, vanilla honey ice cream, blend some in smoothies etc...

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4258 · February 16, 2012 at 5:38 PM

My family has a recipe for making vanilla extract. Slice the beans open longways and scrape out the innards. Place the innards and sliced beans in a large bottle of vodka (purer the better) and let it sit for 6 months, shaking once a day. The vodka will get progressively darker, and smells delicious. You have enough vanilla extract to last you a year, perhaps more. As long as you're willing to wait the time, it is worth it! So tasty. Good in homemade dessert like dark chocolate bars with coconut, or even a few drops in curries or stews. I'm not positive, but vanilla I think has some good minerals and amino acids.

the extract is also good as a natural perfume or essential oil, if you like the smell of vanilla.

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4258 · February 17, 2012 at 2:27 AM

when my ma made it, it was 4-5 beans per litre of alcohol.

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5043 · February 16, 2012 at 7:22 PM

how many beans to how much alcohol, though? He's got 50!!

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4347 · February 16, 2012 at 6:12 PM

+1 for rum. Bourbon is also delicious as a base for vanilla extract!

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c
4258 · February 17, 2012 at 2:28 AM

(though I guess you could make stronger extract quicker with more beans)

Ee70ee808f748374744404a00e1c22ed
1163 · February 16, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Rum makes some pretty awesome vanilla extract as well.

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900 · February 16, 2012 at 7:01 PM

One traditional way to use them is to slice them open lenthwise and put 2-3 in a large sugar jar so the sugar will pick up the aroma after around 4 weeks. You can now vary this with anything more paleo friendly or maybe you still use sugar in your coffee (like me) and now you have vanilla sugar. I also make my own chai with black tea and spices to taste (all whole spices from mountainroseherbs) and a small piece of vanilla. You can use them for anything that could use some vanilla aroma. Since I'm sober for 9 years now I don't use any extracts.

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3499 · February 17, 2012 at 12:00 AM

You can also make vanilla sugar out of spent pods (after you use them for something else), but you will need more of them to get a good vanilla flavor.

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3499 · February 16, 2012 at 11:42 PM

50 beans really is a lot. Most recipes you would make for 4-8 people only need one each. My favorite use for vanilla beans is panna cotta, if you're OK with heavy cream and some sweetness (you could use stevia for it). The recipe is here but you can use a more paleo-friendly sweetener (or amount of sweetener) for it.

There's also making your own extract, as stated elsewhere in this thread; vanilla infused vodka; ice cream; a few savory dishes like risotto; and your creativity. This is a good time to experiment!

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296 · February 16, 2012 at 7:04 PM

You lucky son of a Neanderthal, I'm so jealous!That could be $300 worth of vanilla beans for free! I'd scape the seeds into some coconut cream for my sweetener free fudge, or add the seeds to a smoothie - definitely soak the remaining pods in the vodka. With so many, I'd pack the majority into my food saver, suck the air out and freeze all but a few at a time.

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431 · February 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Mix into some coconut milk, a little salt, and egg yolks and bake it into a custardy thing. Or sometimes I just microwave it, but that only works if you like me enjoy an odd scrambled-egg texture.

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1614 · February 16, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Send them to me! ;)

I second the vanilla extract idea if you use it. I also love vanilla bean coconut "ice cream." You could always scrape a pod into a batch of nut butter or yogurt (if you eat those). Any sort of butter-based paleo cookie or bar would benefit from a vanilla bean scraped in, probably. They keep for quite a long time if you store them correctly, so no hurry to try to use them up. If none of this is appealing to you, sell them on ebay!

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1614 · February 16, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Another idea- any cooked fruit is great with vanilla bean. Apples, cherries, peaches, strawberries, even citrus.

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